Gates/Crowley Flap Represents Everything Wrong With Media and Public Discourse

Posted: July 26, 2009 in Politics
Tags: , , , , , ,

The big story this week is the whole Gates/Crowley fiasco at Cambridge and President Obama’s comments on the situation. The fact that this is a big story is what is wrong with media coverage, public discourse, and politics in general today. Here’s the real breakdown on what happened at Cambridge. Two men got into a pissing contest. I do not believe it really is anymore complicated than that. Then Obama decides to make a 30 second answer to a question that politically he should have side-stepped (though in a perfect world, he wouldn’t have to). Then you have the media making a mountain out of mole hill, and, just like that, say goodbye to the health care debate!

Sure, Obama’s response was 30 seconds of an one hour press conference which was otherwise entirely about the health care issue. And sure, the health care issue has to rank near the top of the most important issues of the day. But forget that, it’s complicated. Or as the media (and to be fair, many in the public) interpret “complicated”, it’s boring. Racism, now that’s simple. So that’s what gets the focus in the media and public discussion, even though at the end of the day a contest of manhood between two guys most of us will never know will not have one iota of impact on our society.

I wished the media would do a better job of covering important stories, and would just occasionally let a sensational but frivolous story slide by. But I also wished that we as a public demanded more coverage of important stories, and less coverage of the sensational stories. The system of government that we have would sure work a lot better if both of these things would happen.

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